If there was not already a veritable feast on offer in terms of domestic football on the Television this afternoon then the fact that we also have an El Clasico on the menu this lunchtime is nothing short of gluttony. Today the starter is Real Madrid vs Barcelona at the Santiago Bernabeu.
Real Madrid may well come into this game off the back of a success in the FIFA World Club Championship in which they beat Brazilian outfit Gremio in the final but they are some distance off of their arch rivals Barcelona when it comes to domestic matters.
Zinedine Zidane’s men do have a game in hand over their Catalan counterparts but they are also find themselves 11 points behind the current league leaders. Should that tally increase to 14 by the early afternoon you get the feeling that the white flag may well be raised in the Spanish capital.
Real Madrid are by no means the vintage model they have been over the past few seasons, already having to make do with just second in the group in the Champions League and a subsequent clash with French giants PSG in the Round of 16 their grip on Europe’s top club trophy is already at risk.
They may not have lost in their last five league matches but that is a poor return by their own standards, especially when you consider the fact that Barcelona are unbeaten in La Liga this season. Ernesto Valverde’s men have won 13 of their first 16 matches while drawing the other three.
Not only that though they have only conceded just seven goals during that spell, that is less than a goal every other game this season while also racking up an average of just over 2.5 goals a game. At both ends of the pitch the stats are very impressive.
It is also in terms of the goalscoring charts where you can see the stark difference between the two clubs, Lionel Messi has scored 14 goals this season while his arch nemesis Cristiano Ronaldo has scored just four, the Portuguese international has the slight caveat of that early suspension at the start of the season.
Even so though the fact that Ronaldo is one of three players to be on four goals for Real Madrid – Isco and Marco Asensio being the others and that amount of goals is enough to earn the mantle of top goalscorer for Los Blancos this season almost says it all.
There is no doubting that Ronaldo has been in imperious form in the Champions League this season but with that lies the accusation that is now only turning it on in the big games, then again club fixtures do not get all that much bigger than this so expect him to pop up and make a lot of people eat their words this lunchtime.
Quite simply it is a must win game for Real Madrid but it perhaps does not carry the same do or die mantra for Barcelona, that said they are not turning up to the Bernabeu to simply roll over for the hosts as this is anything but a dead rubber.
They will identify this game as a chance to drive a stake through the heart of Real Madrid in terms of their defence of La Liga and with the opposing form that these two clubs are in I have a feeling we may well be saying adios to the home side in this season’s title race. I’ll go for an away win as Barcelona kill off their arch rivals.
Here is what Social Media thinks will happen – you can still vote on the outcome
— Dan Tracey (@dantracey1983) December 22, 2017